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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Keep them close

I went to the mall today during my lunch hour to pick up some California rolls (mmm! mall sushi!). Before I made it to the food court, I noticed an elderly couple bent over, talking to a young boy, about two and a half, who was standing there with a perplexed expression, clutching a bag of M&M's. I walked on past into a store, then thought better of it; something in the couple's manner indicated that they weren't grandparents or great-grandparents watching a beloved descendent. The child was lost.

I chatted with the couple for a few moments to confirm my suspicions, offering to ask a clerk to call security. This agreed upon, I darted into a CD store, where the clerk indicated that he was brand new and had no idea how to make the call. Someone at Lenscrafters did, but before the security arrived, a frantic woman came trotting up--the kid's mom, adrenaline clearly pumping, relieved when she was able to spot the boy. She'd come from the food court, about a dozen store lengths away.

The boy seemed a bit out of sorts through the whole thing, but he never cried or seemed particularly upset. He was trusting that everything was sorted out. The mother tried to give the M&M's "back" to the couple, then was surprised to learn that the boy had had them when the couple had discovered them.

As the father of a four-year-old and an eight-month-old, I was very relieved for the mother, but taken aback, too. Just how did he manage to get so far away without her noticing? And where in the heck did he get those M&M's?

1 comment:

Spork Boy said...

mmmmmmmmmmm...M&Ms.

I couldn't imagine the terror of losing your child in a mall. Back in the "old days," if a child was lost you could trust the kindness of strangers to help a lost child. Now, it's strangers that help make a child lost. What a world.

But at least there are M&Ms.